Blog of Justin Cheuk, home to writing on London, Hong Kong, Studying Abroad, Trains and Travels.

Despatches of Wales: Borth’s Sunset

Justin Cheuk: When HK Meets UK

On the West coast of Wales, not too far north from the university town of Aberystwyth, lies a small village named Borth.

The relative blandness of its name, especially in this region so central to Welsh culture, is somewhat a reflection of the village’s reality. Essentially a long street along the seafront, this fading Victorian seaside resort with minimal amenities is not exactly on the radar of any tourist bound for Wales.

Indeed, if Borth were not home to the only Youth Hostel in the county of Ceredigion, my entire experience of the village would have been limited to a quick peek on the way to Aberystwyth. Even if Tripadvisor lists ‘Borth Station Museum’ as a top attraction, I wouldn’t have gotten off the train.

Yet, in search of cheap accommodation accessible by train, I ended spending three nights at this seaside village.

I was there solely in the morning and the evening. I didn’t even manage to visit the Station Museum at all: it is volunteer-run and therefore opens for about only 8 hours a week. Nevertheless, I’ll remember this place fondly for a very long time.

I arrived on an early evening, with the setting sun hidden behind the light clouds. A quick Google indicated the Youth Hostel as the second-last house on the main thoroughfare, perhaps better described as the only road. From the station I turned right and followed the elevated pavement that doubled as a sea wall, transversing the length of the village.

One end of the village contains all the amenities, with the ‘Friendship Inn’ the standout watering hole; the other end, where the Youth Hostel is located, has nothing but the sea.

There I was, on the platform, on the one side lies a single row of Victorian terraces, multicoloured and reflecting the shines of the evening sun; the other sees miles of beaches of Cardigan Bay, basking in all its glory.

The natural thing to do, of course, was to head to the nearest pub, find the beach-facing terrace, and have a refreshing drink under the Atlantic wind.

The second day, a lazy Sunday. Having made an excursion to Barmouth and Tywyn (spoiler duh) I returned to the Youth Hostel and engaged in the typical ‘millennial’ activity of … Facebooking. As I sat in the lounge, at most twenty metres from Cardigan Bay, my eyes were drawn to the most spectacular red.

Borth’s sunset on Cardigan Bay. Unlike those viral links of my computer screen, this photos requires a twenty-second walk from the hostel, across the only road and onto the sea wall, and taken with the most basic settings on a phone camera.

The third day, a much longer day trip to Aberystwyth. I caught the early train and did not return until the sun has disappeared beyond the horizon. Yet, it was an ever clearer day, so warmth by Welsh standards, and I was treated to yet another round of breathtaking views.

Borth, where views like these are commonplace. For a brief moment, I’ve considered moving here.

Borth, I’ll remember this little place.

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